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Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, DA&FW visits Precision Farming Development Centre (PDFC) at Bhopal

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20 April 2023, Bhopal: Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, (Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare) visited the Precision Farming Development Centre (PFDC) at ICAR – Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal today. While interacting with farmers, Dr. Likhi stressed that all the 22 PDFCs located in various states need to adopt nearby villages wherein farmers’ awareness level of open fields and protected cultivation technologies can be raised.

The PFDC Bhopal is spread over a 3.8 ha area which consists of naturally ventilated poly houses, forced ventilated polyhouse cable and post shade net, shade net houses, walk-in tunnels, and low tunnels. All these structures are integrated with a micro-irrigation system and solar pumping system. In addition, the center has about 2 ha open area kept for demonstration.

The Centre does experimental research trials on the study of precision farm technologies for tomato and capsicum crops under open field and polyhouse conditions, evaluation of tomato & capsicum performance in open field, shade net and polyhouse, adoption of drip fertigation system for mango and guava crop, performance evaluation of micro-sprinkler system for peas, testing of specific discharge rate of NPC drippers at permissible length of laterals, performance of Rice and Wheat crops under different micro irrigation systems, performance evaluation of fruits & vegetables under different colors of shade net houses.

The Centre is also demonstrating technologies pertaining to the crops of Guava, Mango, Capsicum, Tomato, Pea, Pigeon pea, Potato, Onion, Chickpea, and Gerbera. The technology demonstrated includes drip & mulching, meadow orchard drip & mulching, under polyhouse with drip irrigation & mulching, micro sprinkler and flood irrigation, and micro sprinkler and drip with mulch.

The Institute has organized 123 training programs in which about 3,100 farmers /state horticultural officials participated and 36 national/regional level agri-events have also been organized. Due to knowledge imparted by PFDC through various modes, during the last five years, with the efforts of PFDC and the State Horticulture Department, the area under drip irrigation increased from 50000 ha to 320000 ha; plastic mulching from 2000 ha to 25,000 ha; shade net houses from 20 hectares to 240 ha; poly houses from 1 ha to 210 ha area.

In the year 2023-24, four projects for technology assessment and refinement are proposed which are vertical farming with nutrient-rich water under a protected structure, utilization of bifacial solar greenhouse for round-the-year cultivation, IoT /cloud-based automation system in polyhouse, cable, and post shade net for monitoring biotic and abiotic stresses in vegetable crops. It is also proposed to take demonstrations for carrots under plastic mulch with drip irrigation, cultivation of sweet corn under mulching with drip irrigation, peas under different micro irrigation systems and mulching, micro irrigation application for tomato cultivation in polyhouse, micro irrigation for cucumber cultivation in polyhouse.

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